Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation on Trauma Victims
One of the most common first aid that everyone should know of is cardiopulmonary resuscitation or most commonly called as CPR. When the word CPR is mentioned the first thing that comes to mind is the pumping on the chest and breathing through the mouth of a victim that is lying in a supine position. This is the ideal setup on administering CPR; however, things are not always as easy as this.
Aside from the usual cardiac arrest and near-drowning experience, trauma victims are also in need of CPR. Traumatic injuries can lead to cardiac arrest due to several reasons such as hypoxia, injury to vital organs, severe head injury, extreme blood loss, pulseless arrest etc.
There has been series of debate over administering CPR on victims of trauma and that is why it is important to know that CPR is just one of the first aids that can be done in these events until professional help arrives. The practices of primary survey and secondary survey is vital in these situations. Primary survey refers to a rapid evaluation and stabilization of the airway and circulation. Secondary survey, on the other hand, aims to detect subtle and underlying injuries that can be lethal to the victim.
With continued debate over how a trauma victim should be stabilized before help arrives, it is vital to know the basic life support for cardiac arrest that has experienced trauma. For airway, instead of doing the classic head tilt-chin lift, a jaw thrust is to be used. This is to avoid worsening of multi-trauma or traumas that affected the head and the neck area. Clear the airway of foreign matters that can obstruct the breathing including vomit, blood and other secretions. If there are bleeding on some areas, put pressure on them to reduce blood loss.
The rescuer should try to detect a pulse for as long as 10 seconds and if there is none the victim should be given CPR. Cycles of compression must be done immediately and with adequate depth and rate. Once the airway is secured, there is no need to pause for ventilation, instead, proceed with doing 100 sets of compression. It is the best scenario if there are two people available to provide the CPR needed. While the other gives cycles of compression, the other holds the jaw thrust position and breathes 8 to 10 breaths per minute. To administer a better quality of CPR, it is highly recommended that the two providers switch roles every two minutes.
While administering the CPR, watch closely for the response of the victim and keep an eye out for signs of deterioration. This can be beneficial especially if the victim has been unconscious and you have no way of further inspecting him of other underlying injuries. Your best bet relies on your primary and secondary survey.
The most important thing is to never hesitate. There is a reason why there is a psychological behavior that is attributed to being a bystander. You can choose to go the other way around and actually do something when there is something that needs to be done. Learn CPR because you never know when you will be needing to do so and it is always better to ready than sorry.